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Page History: Impalila Island, Eastern Caprivi

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Page Revision: 2008/10/07 15:04

Impalila Island lies at the eastern extremity of the Caprivi Strip and is bounded by the converging Zambezi and Chobe Rivers and a natural channel known as the Kasai. The island is 11 kilometres long and four kilometres wide and is flanked by a number of pristine forested smaller islands and superb floodplains. There are two lodges on the island and birding trips by motorboat up the rivers and by mokoro into the floodplains are offered. Birding is excellent, and a lot of big game is normally encountered. A stay of five days will typically yield 250-300 species in summer and 150-200species in winter.


White-crowned Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Rufous-bellied Heron, Slaty Egret, African Pygmy-Goose, Lesser Jacana, Lesser Moorhen, Rock Pratincole, African Skimmer, Tropical Boubou, Swamp Boubou, Hartlaub's Babbler, African Mourning Dove, Coppery-tailed Coucal, White-browed Coucal, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Chirping Cisticola, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Swamp Nightjar, Pennant-winged Nightjar, White-backed Night-Heron, Pel's Fishing-Owl, African Finfoot, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Red-headed Quelea, Half-collared Kingfisher, Little Bittern, Pel's Fishing-Owl, Western Banded Snake-Eagle, Meyer's Parrot, Thrush Nightingale, Olive Woodpecker, Green-backed Honeybird, Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah and Orange-winged Pytilia.


Impalila Island has a variety of habitats ranging from mopane, acacia and riparian woodland to open grasslands, floodplains and reed and papyrus-lined channels.


Birding is good throughout the year, but the best time is between November and April when migrants are present.

1. Boat trips down the Kasani and into the Chobe river are exciting, with both game viewing and birdwatching at it’s best. Along the shore you can see White-crowned Lapwing and Long-toed Lapwing and in the floodplains a variety of herons and egrets occur. These include Rufous-bellied Heron and Slaty Egret. In the shallows covered in water lilies there are usually African Pygmy-Goose and often Lesser Jacana and Lesser Moorhen. Southern Carmine Bee-eater are plentiful and so is African Fish-Eagle. Osprey is often present. In summer, Rock Pratincole breed on rocks in a series of rapids in both the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers. African Skimmer is present on the Zambezi and they breed on sandbanks when the river is low. Check the reedbeds for Red-headed Quelea. Game sightings include , including Elephant, Hippo, Lechwe, Buffalo, Chobe Bushbuck, Lion and spotted Hyena.

2. A walk along the floodplain will produce both Tropical Boubou and Swamp Boubou, Hartlaub's Babbler, African Mourning Dove, Coppery-tailed Coucal and White-browed Coucal, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Chirping Cisticola, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater and Southern Brown-throated Weaver. At dusk both Swamp Nightjar and Pennant-winged Nightjar hawk the floodplain.

3. Walking in riparian forest along the Zambezi shore is also rewarding and birds to look out for include White-backed Night-Heron, African Finfoot, Half-collared Kingfisher, Little Bittern, Pel's Fishing-Owl and Western Banded Snake-Eagle.

4. Inland in mopani and acacia woodland birds to see are Meyer's Parrot, Thrush Nightingale, Green-backed Honeybird, Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah and Orange-winged Pytilia.


To get to Impalila Island you can either drive through Botswana to Kasane and from there by boat to the island, or fly directly to Kasane, or fly to Victoria Falls and transfer to Kasane by road (70 kms). For more information contact Impalila Island Lodge in Johannesburg - tel. +27 11 706 7207, fax +27 11 463 8251. Email: Islands in Africa Website.

Peter Lawson 2001.
Lawson's Birding Tours
P O Box 507, NELSPRUIT, 1200, South Africa.
Tel: +27 - 13 - 741 2458
Fax: +27 - 13 - 741 3689

Lawson's Birding Tours Website

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